Books

Saturday 26 July 2014

Writer inspired by mother wins top Hennessy award

Kirsty Blake Knox

Published 09/04/2014|02:30

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Brendan McLoughlin from Howth, winner of the best new Irish Writer award, at the Hennessy Literary Awards at the Westin Hotel in Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron
Brendan McLoughlin from Howth, winner of the best new Irish Writer award, at the Hennessy Literary Awards at the Westin Hotel in Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron
Robert Ballagh with Sarah Noonan at the Hennessy Literary Awards at the Westin Hotel in Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron
Robert Ballagh with Sarah Noonan at the Hennessy Literary Awards at the Westin Hotel in Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron
Sean Kenny, winner in the Emerging Fiction section and his sister Clodagh at the Hennessy Literary Awards at the Westin Hotel in Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron

A SHORT story has won the top prize in the 43rd Annual Hennessy Literary Awards for new writers, which were presented at a ceremony at Dublin's Westin Hotel last night.

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Brendan McLoughlin (23) was named Hennessy New Irish Writer 2014 for his first publication, the semi-autobiographical 'Breath'.

McLoughlin drew on his own experience of watching his mother Siobhan O'Hare go through paliative care in St Francis's hospice in Raheny.

"I think writing literature can be a great healing process," McLoughlin said. "I wrote 'Breath' to help process what I had been through and what my mother had been through.

"I wasn't there when she passed, I was doing my MA in Queens University in Belfast so in a way it is a tribute to her.

"Winning this award means so much, especially given the standard of the writers who have won it before me."

McLoughlin won a €4,000 prize and a limited edition Hennessy cognac specially blended for the Literary Awards.

Throughout the year, entries for the competition are published in the Hennessy New Irish Writing page which appears in the Irish Independent Review pages on the last Saturday of every month.

School teacher Sean Kenny topped the field in the emerging fiction category with 'Is This Australia?'

His short stories explore themes of isolation, the individual and the role of the family in modern Ireland.

David Cameron, a Scottish poet, with family roots in Sligo and Tyrone was awarded the prize for Emerging Poetry for 'Night Singing' and 'B&B'.

Author Deirdre Madden was inducted into the Hennessy Literary Awards Hall of Fame, joining the likes of Sebastian Barry, Dermot Bolger and Neil Jordan.

Irish Independent

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